Well the hardback edition of THE SHADOW COLLECTOR (as well as the Kindle edition) is out on 7th February. I’ve already received my author copies and they look fantastic. I was talking to a bookseller about the factors that attract readers to a certain book and without hesitation he said it was the cover. In the case of THE SHADOW COLLECTOR my publisher, Piatkus, has certainly done me proud.
I do hope everyone enjoys THE SHADOW COLLECTOR and its background of Civil War and seventeenth century witchcraft (as well as a reality TV show called Celebrity Farm) I certainly enjoyed writing it and found the main character, Lilith Benley, stayed with me long after the book was finished. Strange how some characters you create can seem so real.
Forgetting writing for the moment, I was very excited on Monday 4th February about the announcement from Leicester that bones found in an uninspiring car park have been confirmed as those of Richard III. Normally archaeologists labour long and hard and important discoveries can be elusive, but in the case of Richard they just opened up the first trench and there he was. If I put that in a book, my editor would tell me it wasn’t very believable!!
I first read THE DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey (one of my favourite crime writers) a long time ago and since then I’ve read a good deal about the Wars of the Roses and the various theories about Richard’s nature. As far as killing the princes in the Tower is concerned, I consider Henry VII (or maybe loyal Lancastrians in the tower under the orders of Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort) to be a more likely culprit. After all, Richard had already declared the princes illegitimate (and produced proof that their father Edward IV had already had a wife when he married their mother Elizabeth Woodville). However, Henry VII intended to marry the prince’s sister, Elizabeth of York so it was important to him that she was legitimate, which in turn would mean her brothers were legitimate and the legal claimants to the throne. For Henry to become king he had to get rid of the boys whereas Richard had no real reason to dispose of his nephews.
I was very impressed by the University of Dundee’s reconstruction of Richard’s face – Professor Caroline Wilkinson and artist Janice Aitken did a fantastic job. Of course Professor Wilkinson is an expert in facial reconstruction and her work has been used in many murder investigations. It turns out that Richard was very good looking and slightly built with one shoulder a little higher than the other because of a deformity of the spine known as scoliosis which would have developed at puberty. I suppose I can claim a special interest as my Yorkshire based detective, Joe Plantagenet is reputed to be descended from one of Richard’s illegitimate children. The Plantagenet name lives on.
I’ve been working very hard on my next Wesley book…but I’m not ready to reveal anything about it yet. Watch this space.